Will a Mountain West team bolt?
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What can the league do?
College athletics is just crazy right now with every league not named the Big Ten caught off guard with UCLA and USC leaving to the Pac-12.
These moves are going to have a ripple effect as the Big Ten might want to become even bigger with Notre Dame on their radar. The Fighting Irish have always been the white whale for a conference to land them. Currently, the Big Ten is waiting on them before they might go after Washington and Oregon.
Pete Thamel of ESPN sees the next set of moves as big team are looking to stay afloat at the top of the money pile. This is not necessarily a breakaway but a “pull up” with the “best properties” finding an even better landing spot to print even more money.
The Mountain West has not yet released any type of statement on what is going on in the world of college athletics.
With all of the big players shuffling the board themselves, the Mountain West might be inclined to think that their league is safe from poaching, at least for now. Commissioner Craig Thompson should be on alert and keep in communication with its members.
At the moment, it seems that the news is where will the Pac-12 schools go if that league does fall apart. The options are all over the place and a lot of it has to do if Oregon and Washington leave
From rumors and reports, the Pac-12 is not currently looking at any of the Mountain West schools to add, but again, that could change if the two big Northwest schools leave.
Even if the Huskies and Ducks leave, the Big 12 could swoop in and take the Arizona and Rocky Mountain schools, which has been an option reported.
That could end up meaning that the Pac-12 falls apart and the Mountain West might actually be able to land a few teams like Oregon State and Washington State.
Mountain West teams are almost always clamoring to move up into a bigger league, but right now there are really only two-ish big-time football leagues with the SEC and Big Ten. The rest are a step below and the Pac-12 without USC and UCLA is just a little bit better than the Mountain West.
However, Fresno State, San Diego State, Boise State, and others would still probably like to jump to that league if the right teams are in there.
Making predictions in realignment is non-sense as literally, anything is on the table after UCLA and USC now have conference games in New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland.
However, as I insert my foot into my mouth, odds are the Mountain West will be fine — whatever that means in this changing landscape — with membership likely not changing within the league.
The big caveat that could depend if the Mountain West loses teams really falls on Oregon and Washington’s potential move. If those schools stay, then the Mountain West is in trouble of losing a few teams, but if they go then look for the conference likely add Washington State and Oregon State for a little bit of an upgrade.
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